What’s With This Twitter Thing?

Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm
By: Karen Sherman
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If you’re part of any social networking site or have spent some time online lately, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Twitter. 

But if not, let me explain “quickly.”

When you sign up for Twitter, the main page of the site asks you, “What are you doing?” And you get to answer in 140 characters (letters and spaces) or less.

Some might say, “Running out to get lunch.”

That could be useful to co-workers who maybe want to tag along or a client who knows you won’t be available for the next hour or so.

But most users on Twitter couldn’t care less about what you’re actually doing at the moment. And plenty of people who avoid the site, do so because they don’t want someone knowing what they do every second of every day. It doesn’t make sense to them.

That’s why I’ve noticed Twitter users are ignoring that question altogether. Instead of answering, “What are you doing?” they might share an insight on a news story they’ve just read, something they just saw on TV or something that just happened in their hometown. These people share their thoughts, their discoveries and sometimes ask their own questions.

Those updates might look something like this:

“Just read a neat article on KELOLAND.com. Here’s the link.”

“Need help preparing your taxes online? Check out this article.”

“Does anyone know how to make homemade lasagna?”

twitter.com/keloland

twitter.com/keloland

These types of updates (or tweets) are useful to more people than if you were to simply say you were brushing your teeth. And depending on how many people follow you, near-instant replies happen all the time, so your questions never go unanswered.

There really aren’t any rules on Twitter (in regards to what your updates look like), so you can really say whatever you want. But valuable updates get you exposure in the “Twitterverse” (like universe) and more people “follow” you.

Following is simply subscribing to another user’s updates. If you find that a particular user’s updates make you laugh or think, you may want to subscribe or “follow.”

KELOLAND.com uses Twitter to send out our news stories. Now, mixed in with all of your friends’ valuable updates, you’ll also see the latest headlines from our site every hour. If the story interests you, you’re able to click the link in the update and view the full story right here.

Twitter does thrive on interaction, however, and our KELO Newsroom account exists for that very purpose. You’re able to send us story ideas, news tips, and feedback.  (We can’t promise quick replies, since we are actually working on other things like gathering the latest news.)  But we’ll let you know what’s going on in the newsroom and interesting things you can find on our site besides the news stories. If you haven’t checked it out, or if I’ve thoroughly confused you, sign up for an account. And make sure to follow us on Twitter.

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